We are already neck deep in the political season. For the next 15 months, we are going to hear a lot about policy, about the failures of the past and about the needed changes for the future. I hope this campaign does not devolve into the nasty mudslinging that so often occurs... but if these first few months are any indicator, it could get rough.
However, I hope we are able to listen well, truly care about our nation and actually go to the polls and vote. Voting is too often an ignored privilege. I think that is due to some very real factors. So, how about this: let's not put our hope in politics/politicians, but let's not ignore the whole thing either.
Care, but don't despair.
One of the issues that stirs a lot of political discussion is climate change. Over the years this ongoing debate has had a few primary questions: Is the world's climate actually changing? If it is, what role (if any) is humanity playing in these changes? What will the results be? What can be done to fix it?
I am not going to try to answer all of these questions. I am not qualified, but I certainly do believe that climate change is happening and I believe that people have and do play a significant role. The potential results and possible solutions are areas that I am still learning about. I know that it is already disproportionately affecting the poor. I know that those who grow or catch their own food are already dealing with significant changes. I don't know much more, because I have not considered climate change to be that important. Going forward, I want to care. I think as Christians we are called to care.
Last week, Ben and I had the opportunity to sit down with Rachel Lamb, the daughter of Dave and Brenda Lamb, who are members here at Sojourn. Rachel works for an organization that works to raise awareness - especially in evangelical circles - about creation care and climate change. The organization is called Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (YECA - yecaction.org). She is passionate about the world we live in but even more passionate about Jesus! She and YECA are needed voices... not because they are trying to "save the world," but because they are helping people (like me) make clearer, stronger connections between the instructions God gave in the Garden of Eden concerning the care of His world and how we (especially Christians!) should live in His world today. In other words, they are not just taking current climate trends and forcing the Bible to say something. They are starting with God's original design for humanity's existence on planet earth and helpfully applying it to this day and this issue.
I share this as a warning and an invitation.
The warning? Sometimes a very important issue gets bogged down because one political party seems to "own" it. This causes the other party to oppose it not on its importance or merits but because that is a "liberal" issue or that is a "conservative" issue. This has unfortunately been happening for decades with abortion and it has been happening with climate change too. We want to always remember that Jesus blew up all the categories. I am convinced that we would not have been able to call him a Republican, a Democrat or a Libertarian. He would have constantly stunned us. How can I say that? Read the gospels. He spent his life stunning people.
The invitation? If you are a Christian then the Bible says that you have been given a new heart and a new mind. This means, because of Christ, we are free to think not in step with "our" political party but "in step with the truth of the gospel" (Gal. 2:14). The hope of the world is not reducing greenhouse gases. The hope of the world is Jesus! Now, here is the invitation: what does living for Jesus look like? I think if we will actually look and listen to what God has to say in His Word we will see that our care and stewardship of God's gifts (including the earth) matters more than we think. It matters to the watching world, it matters to our neighbors and it matters to God.
As good stewards of God's gifts, let's all take better care of this beautiful place called Earth... not just because we think we can save it, but because He really did save us.
(I also want to mention that Rachel was recently chosen as one of only twelve people to be honored at the White House!!! Thanks for your work, Rachel! Check it out: www.whitehouse.gov/champions/climate-faith-leaders/rachel-lamb)